Keim Time: There doesn’t appear to be any clouds in the sky

Sep 19, 2016, 10:43 AM | Updated: 4:58 pm
Arizona Cardinals defensive back Marcus Cooper (41) celebrates his touchdown after an interception ...
Arizona Cardinals defensive back Marcus Cooper (41) celebrates his touchdown after an interception with teammate cornerback Patrick Peterson (21) against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
LISTEN: Steve Keim, Cardinals general manager

The Arizona Cardinals bounced back in a huge way after losing Week 1 at home, as they trounced the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 40-7.

After the defense had some trouble getting off the field against the New England Patriots, they showed their teeth in Week 2, forcing five turnovers against an uncomfortable-looking Jameis Winston-led offense. The offense meanwhile took care of business, as Carson Palmer had 308 yards passing with three touchdowns.

As he does every Monday, general manager Steve Keim joined Doug and Wolf on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM to discuss what went right for the Cardinals against the Bucs and what he is looking for next week against the Buffalo Bills. 

How are you doing?

“Good morning man, I think we talked about it last week. After a loss, it does feel like the sky is falling and this morning even though I got in before the sun came up, there doesn’t appear to be any clouds in the sky.”

Did Sunday’s game feel like last year?

“I would say to some degree. It was good to see our guys flying around and playing their brand of football, you know, particularly on defense. The way we flew around and swarmed to the football, I think that was the one thing that encouraged me the most.”

How healthy is it for your team to see guys like Palmer, and Larry Fitzgerald have good games?

“Well there’s no doubt when your stars and your playmakers are on point and producing at a high level it certainly instills confidence in your entire team, and to have Carson play as well as he did yesterday, and again, all that does for me is it continues to inject confidence into your locker room, and I think when those guys play at a high level it keeps the focus intact and makes sure that our guys are paying attention to the details.”

How much goes into a trade, like the one for Marcus Cooper?

“Well there’s a lot, and it starts at the beginning of training camp. As all rosters start at 90, and as they start to widdle down, our pro department does a great job of monitoring which guys could be on the bubble, and as those guys are pinpointed, we do a great job of highlighting and ranking those players, and then Quentin Harris, Terry McDonough and the rest of our pro scouts, we’ll meet and we’ll determine which guys we think could help us from a roster standpoint, and Marcus was a guy that was extremely high on our list, has great length for the position, and just has a natural feel for the game we thought. So I reached out to John Dorsey and it all worked out, and it was a perfect example of a guy taking advantage of his opportunity yesterday, so it was nice to see him play so well.”

What did you see from Marcus Cooper in this game?

“The one thing about him is he’s got a great understanding of the game, and he is long, so he’s not like some of those shorter, twitchier athletes. He’s long, he’s smooth, he’s got really good feet and hips for a big guy. The one thing he really understands is spacing and route concepts, and he’s got a good feel and natural anticipation of playing off, so not only does he use his length well, he’s physical enough as a tackler on the perimeter. But the big thing about him is just his natural feel for the game and he’s just a savvy guy, and I think we saw that yesterday. (I) Don’t want to anoint him as the next coming of Deion Sanders quite yet, but at the same time I’m very, very excited about how he played.”

Where is your confidence level in Brandon Williams?

“Extremely high on Brandon, matter of fact I thought he played fairly well yesterday, and the thing about him that excites you is his physical tools. He has a tremendous skill set for that position. I think we all know the things he has to work on, and again, it’s the eyes, the anticipation, and the ability to play with consistency, leverage in routes, but he’s going to be a fine football player. He’s extremely competitive and more than anything he’s got the will to be a great player, and he’s in here, he works his tail off, he follows Patrick (Peterson) around, so I have no concerns that Brandon is not going to develop into a good player, yet at the same time it’s nice to see other guys step up and create competition at that position.”

How did D.J. Humphries play?  

“He played well. Again, any time you don’t call out a guy’s name at that position a lot, it just goes to show he’s doing his job, and as I said last week, the one thing he brings to the table is a physicality in the run game, and his ability to create movement at the point of attack, and climb to the second level with the athleticism that he has, to mirror linebackers in space, and playing combination like he does, he does a nice job, and he’s just continuing to grow and get better, just what we wished all along.”

Are teams attacking Humphries differently, and how much help is he receiving from Bruce Arians?

“Not a whole lot different from what we do with all our tackles, which is to chip and depending on the formation, and the down and distance. Evan Mathis is a guy in there who’s great for D.J. because of the lines of communication that they have, and they all do a nice job helping each other. Evan was a guy who was banged up early in the week, and the guy’s truly an ironman. The way his ankle looked on Monday and then how it was purple and blue on Tuesday, and I looked up in the training room and he was walking out to practice on Wednesday, and to me he is the epitome of a pro, and he has been a great addition for us. Again for many reasons, not only in the locker room, but what he brings to the table on the field, which is lines of communications with D.J., and just the stability he brings to the position.”

Was Robert Nkemdiche being inactive completely injury-related?

“Yes, tweaked his ankle again, (I) don’t see it being a major issue, but he’s working hard and I’m sure he’ll be out there next week at some point. The thing about that position, that’s a luxury for us is many wonder why we kept so many defensive linemen; you’re going to have some issues during the year, with guys like Frostee (Rucker) and different players that are going to battle injuries, and it’s nice to plug in players, whether they’re older players, veteran players or young players. This past week, Corey Peters continues to play good football. I thought actually Xavier Williams played an excellent game. (He) Got on the edge a few times, had some nice rushes, and was really disruptive in the run game.”

How would you rate your pass rush?  

“You know what, it’s funny, because early on in the game I was concerned with why we weren’t getting home, particularly when we were bringing pressure, you know they thought they did a pretty good job picking up some of that stuff, but then as the game went on, you noticed Jameis became a little high with some of his passes, and they became a little hot, and it was really the reason, I thought, we started to get more pressure on him. I thought Chandler (Jones) did a nice job with being disruptive, although it didn’t show so much in the sack column up until later in the game where he registered his first sack, and same thing with Markus (Golden), but those guys were disruptive and I think that they got into Jameis’ head enough where he wasn’t able to sit back there and remain calm. I thought that we ran a lot of really nice games and stunts and Deone Bucannon played an excellent game, he was another guy that flew around and made a ton of tackles.”

How did special teams look?

“Aside from the mixed extra point I thought they were solid. We didn’t have a lot of chances to cover kicks, because Chandler (Catanzaro) did such a nice job with his kickoffs, but (we’re) getting better every week, and I know that’s something that Amos Jones has really focused in on, and that’s attention to detail at that spot.”

 What is your biggest priority or concern this week going into the Buffalo game?

“Just to continue to play with consistency, and not have a letdown. They’re a talented team as well. They had an opportunity where they could’ve been 2-0 actually, with two tough games, so you never want to take anyone lightly, particularly a team that (has) its back against the wall like Buffalo does, and we know they’re going to come out swinging and get their best. We just got to be ready, prepared and ready to play our game.”

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Keim Time: There doesn’t appear to be any clouds in the sky